Friday, March 29, 2013

Gloria Whelan to Speak at the Clarke

by Christa Clare

Mark your calendars! The Clarke Historical Library is very pleased to announce that Michigan resident and well-known children’s author Gloria Whelan is coming to speak on Wednesday, April 3rd.

Mrs. Whelan became an author late in life, publishing her first book at the age of 54. In the nearly 35 years since, she has written more than fifty books of fiction for children and young adults. Many have been set in rural northern Michigan. The Clarke has attempted to collect all of her published works, including the titles pictured - Megan's Year, The Boy Who Wanted to Cook, and Smudge and the Book of Mistakes.

Mrs. Whelan will discuss her experience as an author as well as her most recent publication project.

Please join us on the evening of Wednesday, April 3, 2013 for her 7 pm presentation in the Park Library auditorium with a reception to follow in the Clarke Historical Library.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Arthur Vandenberg Documentary, CMU Pow wow, and CMU Women's Basketball

There are quite a few events of interest going on around Central Michigan University that the Clarke Historical Library would like to remind you about.

First, this weekend is the 24th Annual Pow wow, being held in McGuirk arena (located in the Central Michigan University Events Center). For more information, visit the CMU Office of Institutional Diversity webpage with information about the Celebrating Life Pow wow.

Second, the 11th seeded CMU Women's Basketball team will compete against 6th seeded Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday, March 23 at 11:10 am. The game, played in Columbus, Ohio, will be broadcast on ESPN2. Three weeks ago, the Clarke featured an image of the 1908 women's basketball squad on the CMU Libraries picture of the week page and in a previous Clarke News and Notes posting. Fire up, CMU!

Image from Wikipedia Commons
Finally, Monday, March 25, the second event in the Spring 2013 Clarke Historical Library Speaker Series will take place at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. A panel discussion featuring Mike Grass, Hank Meijer, and Gleaves Whitney will follow the showing of America’s Senator -- The Unexpected Odyssey of Arthur H. Vandenberg, a documentary about the life and career of Arthur Vandenberg (1884-1951), a U. S. Senator (1928-51) from Grand Rapids. Mike Grass is the film’s producer and Hank Meijer and Gleaves Whitney were the principal historical consultants. This presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Clarke Historical Library.

Monday, March 18, 2013

David Livingstone's 200th Birthday

by Bryan Whitledge

Tuesday, March 19 marks the 200th birthday of Dr. David Livingstone (March 19, 1813 - April 30, 1873), the famous Scottish explorer and missionary who traveled throughout Southern, Central, and Eastern Africa and wrote extensively about his journeys. In popular culture, Livingstone is most often associated with Henry M. Stanley’s statement, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume,” supposedly uttered in November 1871 when Stanley tracked down Livingstone on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. But David Livingstone’s life was much more than one line that may or may not have been spoken.

During his life, Livingstone lived for several years throughout the continent of Africa, at first as a missionary and later as an explorer. He led expeditions to traverse the African continent from West to East (Luanda, Angola to Quelimane, Mozambique), chart the path of the Zambezi River, and find the source of the Nile.

Livingstone’s life and exploits are not without criticism. Some often cited faults are that his expeditions were often rife with troubles and lacked organization, his theories of the source of the Nile were incorrect, and the movement to colonize Africa and the Scramble for Africa cited Livingstone’s travels to the interior of the continent as inspiration. At the same time, Livingstone has received praise for his strong contempt for slave trade and his interest in setting up “legitimate trade” with the peoples of the areas he traveled. His beliefs about slavery and the peoples of Africa inspired abolitionists and, later in the 20th Century, those opposed to European colonization.

The complex life of this 19th Century celebrity is documented in numerous texts. Among three of his most notable works are Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (1857), Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries (1865), and The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to his death (1874). The Clarke Historical Library maintains first editions of all three of these works as part of our holdings (pictured). These rare texts are among thousand of historical maps and texts that make up the Clarke's Africana and African-Americana collection.

Biographical information adapted from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry about David Livingstone

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Robert Kohrman Opens the Spring 2013 Clarke Speaker Series

This Wednesday, March 13, Dr. Robert Kohrman, curator of: Drilling for Brine: The Dow Chemical Plant in Mt. Pleasant 1903 – 1930, will discuss his research at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium with a reception to follow in the Clarke.

Dow Chemical’s Midland operations are well known, but the current Clarke exhibit tells the story of the Dow Chemical facilities in Mt. Pleasant. What brought Dow to Mt. Pleasant? It was brine -- water trapped underground that is mixed with various salts. In 1903, Dow drilled brine wells and built a bromide plant in Mt. Pleasant. By early 1904, bromide was being shipped from Mt. Pleasant to Midland. Despite investments in equipment during the late 1920s to meet the demand for brine, the Mt. Pleasant plant doors closed in 1930.

Visit the Clarke Historical Library through to see Drilling for Brine: The Dow Chemical Plant in Mount Pleasant 1903 – 1930 and join us for a presentation on the subject by Dr. Robert Kohrman this Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the Park Library March 13.

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

by Casey Gamble and Bryan Whitledge

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate all women around the World for the differences – large and small – that they make. International Women’s Day came about in the beginning of the 20th century and, since 1977, has been recognized by the United Nations every year on March 8. Michigan is no stranger to women who have made a difference and we would like to recognize that.

At the Clarke, we maintain a great deal of general information about women in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region. We also have many works about specific individuals who had an impact on their community and beyond. For example, Elly Peterson was a Michigan native and a major player in the Republican Party during the 1960s and 1970s. The diaries and letters of women who lived in Michigan during the Territorial period and early days of Statehood are in the holdings of the Clarke as well.

In addition to specific individuals, the Clarke has a bounty of resources related to social movements and events. Women’s suffrage is an example and there are many resources that focus on the suffrage movement from the early period in the 19th Century through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. We have reprints of suffrage movement posters, as well as thousands of pages of newspapers on microfilm that chronicle the fight for the right to vote.

As activism increased in the 1970s, the women’s liberation movement took center stage and the Clarke is home of several primary sources that cover the topics of feminism and the fight for equal rights. Some of the sources focus on the activism of female students at CMU and others explore the nation-wide movement from a Michigan perspective.

While the entire planet is celebrating women and their contributions that make our communities and World great places to live, we here at the Clarke would like to let you know that the contributions of women in Michigan are being preserved for generations to come.

Friday, March 1, 2013

CMU Picture of the Week

[editor's note: The Clarke Historical Library will be closed on Saturday, March 2, 2013 and Saturday, March 9, 2013 as part of the Central Michigan University spring break. We will keep our regular Monday to Friday hours during the break. Regular Saturday hours (9 am to 1 pm) will return on Saturday, March 16, 2013.]

The Clarke Historical Library has partnered with the CMU Libraries and the CMU Alumni Association to produce a "Picture of the Week" program. Each week, the staff of the Clarke provides an historic CMU photograph to be published on the facebook pages of the CMU Libraries and CMU Alumni Association. The images cover a variety of topics - student life, academics, special events, guests on campus, athletics, campus infrastructure, and more - this week's image is the 1908 women's basketball team. In addition to viewing the photograph, you can read a brief note about the image and any related anecdotes about CMU history that might be of interest.

You can keep up with the snapshots of CMU history every week via the CMU Libraries facebook page and the CMU Alumni Association facebook page. And you can view past "Pictures of the Week" by scrolling through the photos of the CMU Libraries facebook page.